Accidents happen, and when they do, be thankful for your marine insurance (hopefully with SkiSafe.) You’ll have coverage for fire, theft, vandalism, collision on the water or land, and hauling your boat out in advance of a named storm. Maybe you will choose to have coverage for consequential losses or freeze damage. You’ll definitely want coverage for third party liabilities that can arise out of the ownership or operation of your boat.
If you keep your boating insurance in place, you’ll be covered if the unthinkable happens. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your boat to guard against certain accidents and damage.
Let’s take a look at a few things you can do as part of your boat maintenance checklist.
In general, change your boat’s engine oil annually. If your boat usage approaches or exceeds 100 hours per year, a mid-season oil change is in order. Always change the oil filter when you change the oil. For annual oil changes, the fall is the best time of year to get this done, right before the engine is laid up for the winter. That way the engine is stored with fresh, clean oil protecting those expensive moving parts.
This is also a good time to replace the fuel filters. Please note: if you have any evidence of fuel contamination, look into having your fuel tank cleaned.
The engine cooling water pump has a rubber-like impeller that needs to be replaced periodically. Your usage patterns dictate how often this needs to happen, but at least replace it every third year. Running an impeller dry by starting the engine while the boat is out of the water, and not on a flushing hose will destroy a new impeller in just over 30 seconds.
Transmissions also need periodic oil changes. Check with your boat manufacturer with recommendations specific to your craft.
Internal Clamps and Hoses
Belts and hoses are wear items that must be periodically replaced. Inspection is the best indicator of their condition rather than any given fixed-time interval. Hose clamps have a vulnerability to crevice corrosion. This is a corrosion process that takes place in the absence of oxygen on stainless steel. The outside of the clamp will look perfectly normal, but the underside against the hose can be eaten away completely. The first sign of trouble is when the clamp snaps. Removal and inspection is the only way to find this problem ahead of time. You and your boat will be very glad that you took these precautions because failure to do so can be costly.
Shaft and Rudder
Your shaft and rudder packing are also service items that require periodic inspection and maintenance. This is best left to professionals who can determine what steps are necessary to keep your boat in tip-top shape.
There is a ton you can do for your boat’s maintenance each season, but we don’t boat upkeep to be a full time job. If you stay on top of this checklist you will be in good shape. Most importantly, you’ll preserve your boat insurance for truly unavoidable accidents.
As always, the best thing to do is ask questions. Visit us at SkiSafe for any questions you may have.